When Jason Milwaukee's best friend Sunshine vanishes, Jason knows that something is terribly wrong, but solving her disappearance will require pushing through all the voices in his head and then getting the world to listen to him. His schizophrenia is stopping him from remembering the events leading up to her disappearance, and often he discounts his own memories, and his own impressions. But his deep knowledge that he would never hurt his friend, plus the faith of his parents and a few others in the town bring him to the point of solving the mystery. In the end, it's Sunshine's own love for Jason (Freak) that persuades him of his own strength and goodness. By turns brilliantly witty and searingly honest, Susan Vaught's newest novel is a laugh-out-loud, tear-jerking, coming-of-age story.
Publication date: September 4th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
The Elliott Review:
This book is a thoughtful, easy to read glimpse into the mind of a teen with schizophrenia. Jason (aka Freak) thinks differently than the average kid, and through his unique way of viewing the world, the reader comes to deeply feel his emotions. As Freak copes with his best friend/crush being missing, we are able to see fragments of something that Freak had vowed to forget as they come back to him in the midst of a frenzied search for Sunshine.
This book is gripping and intense, filled with Freak's narration that is sometimes fractured by his schizophrenia, what he calls his "alphabet." Freak must deal with those who mistrust him while trying to figure out where his friend might be - law enforcement, his father, and even himself. Someone was hurting Sunshine, Freak remembers, but who was that person?
This book is a quick, meaningful read that will give readers an insight into the mind of someone who is mentally ill yet still powerfully self aware and proactive.
Young Adult Note:
Allusion to rape/sexual abuse, mild violence.
Source: Thanks to Bloomsbury for making this title available at Netgalley.